Skip to main content


Showing posts from July, 2010

Sun and Surf

I'll be blogging from a vacation site. (If I have the time and creativity).  Nothing too exotic this year...can you guess where EverythingHealth will be?

Bystander CPR Saves Lives

Nearly 450 people die each day of sudden cardiac arrest. Many times the bystanders, who witness a person collapse don't know what to do. They are afraid they will hurt the victim or they feel nervous about doing traditional Cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) with mouth to mouth breathing and chest compressions.

New information is published in the New England Journal of Medicine that shows hands-only CPR is potentially a lifesaving option to be used and it can improve the chance of survival equally as well as traditional CPR. This study confirms other reports that bystanders can save lives by doing chest compressions in adults and children who are not breathing. The two studies from NEJM compared the outcomes of victims who collapsed and onlookers gave either chest compressions alone or were instructed by emergency telephone operators to give traditional CPR. They found no difference in survival rates.

Other studies have shown that children who receive bystander c…

Irritable Bowel Syndrome From Structural Brain Changes

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder that affects women twice as often as men.  It is commonly seen in a general medicine practice.  It is thought to be chronic and involves cramping, abdominal pain, gas, diarrhea and constipation.  An old term for it is "spastic colon".   It is one of those frustrating conditions where we "don't know what causes it" and that means doctors often say it is caused by stress or hormones or food intolerance or the immune system. Because it can be associated with depression and because it comes and goes, a variety of different medications are used to treat the symptoms.

Well, surprise!  New findings reported in Gastroenterology, show that there may be structural changes in the brain that cause the gut to react and cause IBS.  The researchers at UCLA and Canada's McGill University used brain scans to compare brain anatomy of 55 women with moderate IBS vs. women with no symptoms.  They found thinning grey matter in …

The Pesticide Dirty Dozen

The Environmental Working Group is a non-profit focused on public health.  We know that the long term consequences of eating chemicals from pesticides used on our foods is damaging to our health.  The EWG analyzed data from the FDA and  found that people who eat five fruits and vegetables a day from the dirty dozen are eating 10 pesticides a day.  We want people to eat more fruits and vegetables, but NOT to ingest more chemicals.  Rinsing reduces but does not eliminate pesticides.   What is the answer?  Rinse completely and buy the following foods organic when possible.

The Dirty Dozen:
CeleryPeachesStrawberriesApplesBlueberriesNectarinesBell PeppersSpinachCherriesKale/Collard GreensPotatoesGrapes (imported)Summer is a great time to visit farmers markets.  Fortunately stores like Safeway are now stocking organic fruits and vegies.  Start with the dirty dozen and do your body a favor.

Got an iPhone?  Check out this site and download the shopper's guide to pesticides app.

Caffeine is OK for Pregnant Women

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have issued a statement that moderate caffeine consumption (<200mg/day - about a cup of coffee) does not increase a woman's risk for miscarriage or preterm birth.  The review of recent studies was published in Obstetrics and Gynecology and should reassure women about drinking coffee when pregnant.

Caffeine does cross the placenta but there was no difference found between the moms who drank caffeine while pregnant and those who did not.

If you wonder how much caffeine is in certain drinks or foods, click here.

One fact the study did not mention is that many women have a natural aversion to coffee when they are pregnant.  Maybe nature knows best.

When a Professional Turns His Back

A few weeks before Christmas, Eutisha Rennix, a pregnant restaurant worker,  collapsed while working.  She started having a seizure and her co-workers were screaming for help. There were two EMT workers in line at Au Bon Pain shop in Brooklyn and they refused to help.  They told on-lookers to call 911 and they walked out of the store after picking up their bagels, presumably because they were on a coffee break. An ambulance was called and the 25 year old woman and her baby girl died shortly afterward.  She is survived by a 3 year old son.

A spokesman for the FDNY said members "take an oath to assist others whenever they are in need of emergency medical care. It is their sworn duty."

That was the last we heard about that horrific story until today.  Jason Green, the EMT who refused to help, was fatally shot near a New York City nightclub last night.  Police believe the shooting was unrelated to the coffee shot incident.

There is no question in my mind that  those of us who h…

The Most Amazing Flower in the World

This Agave Century Plant has the most amazing flower in the world.  I've been photographing the initial bloom spike since early June.  The plant takes about 15-20 years to finally put out a flower. Because so much of the plant's energy goes into this amazing bloom, the plant dies afterward.  But in nature's amazing way there are new daughter plants spreading from the original to keep the species going.

Tequila is made from a different species of the Agave Plant.

How to Recognize a Competitive Medical Student

This cartoon is from a clever medical student blog.  I love finding out what medical students in 2010 are up to,  and reading about their struggles brings back my own nostalgic (read: horrific)  memories.  This cartoon of a Med School Gunner shows me that not much has changed and this type of student is still with us. 

(thanks Doc Cartoon)

19th Century Obesity Cure

I really really want to know what the treatment is that this "regular practicing physician" will send to the patient to reduce the surplus flesh. "Eat as much and as often as you please" and no "bandaging or tight lacing."  Bring it on!

(click on image to enlarge)

The Answer

The answer to yesterday's medical challenge is...(drum roll)...insect bites.  Many of you diagnosed correctly.  We don't know what type of insect caused the reaction because mosquito and chigger bites can look the same with red, indurated wheals.  The fact that they were on the exposed skin, and not under clothing gives a clue to insects too.

The photo here shows one of our nurses in Haiti with hundreds of mosquito bites on her arm.  We took malaria prophylaxis so all is well.

What is the Diagnosis?

This 24 year old patient had the onset of these very itchy lesions on both upper arms.  She takes no medication and has no other medical problems.  She had just returned from a vacation where they had lots of outdoor dining.  She recalls eating shellfish and strawberries.  You are the doctor.  Make a comment and tell us what is the diagnosis?  Can it be treated?

The answer will be posted tomorrow.

(Case and Image from ConsultantLive)

Tips for Men Using Viagra

One of my journals, Mayo Clinic Proceedings,  (I read every night to keep up with the latest medical information) contained some clinical pearls that I wanted to pass on to my men readers who take medication for erectile dysfunction (ED).  They reported on a healthy 67 year old male who took 2 25mg doses of Viagra (sildenafil) but still did not get erections.  He was frustrated and inquired about other treatments for ED.

The article reported that patients often take Viagra and other phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (Cialis, Levitra) incorrectly. To be effective, Viagra must be taken on an empty stomach at least one hour before intercourse. Research has shown that approximately half of patients who don't respond to Viagra will have success when they take it properly.  The dose can go up to 100mg but there is no need to increase the medication until the patient learns how to take it.

So there you have it.  Take it on an empty stomach at least 1 hour before sex.

Obama Makes Don Berwick Head of CMS

In a slick move, President Obama appointed Donald Berwick, a pediatrician, to the top post at CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid).  I am happy about this because Dr. Berwick is eminently qualified and has been a leader in the quality and safety movement and patient protection for decades.   With his focus on quality and his passion for improving health care, he is the right person at this time to lead CMS.  He has been endorsed by the American Hospital Association, the Federation of American Hospitals, the Catholic Health Association, AARP,  the AMA and the American Association of Family Physicians.  He is non partisan and three former directors of CMS (who served under Republican presidents) support him.

Why did Obama appoint him, rather than take him through the confirmation process?  It is because the Republicans vowed to block his nomination through extended hearings and use politics to keep him out.  Medicare has been leaderless since 2006 and urgently needs reform.  Medicare…

Doctor Sues for Lousy OnLine Ratings

I must say I think Dr. Kimberly Henry, cosmetic surgeon,  has made a big professional mistake.  She has filed a lawsuit to stop online reviewers from badmouthing her on the Internet.  She is seeking injunctions against at least 12 reviewers from sites such as  and  Dr. Henry claims libel and defamation, invasion of privacy and interference with prospective economic advantage and is seeking $1million in general damages and $1million in special damages, etc etc etc.

Now I don't know Dr. Henry, nor do I know of her plastic surgery technique.   I don't know who the disgruntled patients are or if they are unfairly targeting her.  What I do know is that the Internet is here to stay and there is no place to hide if you do not provide excellent customer service.  I was curious and checked and there is a new complaint placed today, so I don't think this publicity is helping her.  It will bring more angry patients out to comment, I&…

Rare Condition of Lizzie Velasquez

Lizzie Velasquez is 21 years old and lives in Austin, Texas.  She suffers from a rare condition that prevents her from gaining weight, even thought she eats up to 60 small meals and consumes between 5,000 and 8,000 calories daily. 

She was born premature at 2 lbs. 10oz and remained tiny as a child.  She has a syndrome that prevents her body from gaining weight and putting on body fat.  She is blind in one eye and weights just 60 lbs.

Doctors do not have a name for her condition as it is extremely rare.  She is part of a genetic study being conducted at the University of Texas and the closest doctors can come to a diagnosis is that she might have a form of Neonatal Progeroid Syndrome that causes accelerated aging, fat loss from the face and body, and tissue degeneration.

Lizzie hasn't let a lack of a diagnosis affect her life.  She just wrote a book and wants to share her story with others.  She has her own website here.  What an inspiring young woman!